If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. When you hear about people half your age making bank in some silicon valley startup, rather than be irked, be inspired. Start a tech side gig of your own, says Carol Vercellino, today’s guest author.
There was a time that I would have scoffed at the concept. Who has time for a side gig when the main gig is taking up so much time?
However, in 2016, I started a side gig of my own. It’s one that can be done with nothing but a computer and some ideas. I combined my background in health with the technology that powers a website, and I now have this fun and profitable side gig of my own known as Physician on FIRE.
What else can you do besides start a blog? More ideas can be found in the article below, which was written by Carol Vercellino is the CEO and Co-Founder of Oak City Labs.
Did you know the first digital computer came to the fore during The Second World War? Scotch Tape was released during the Great Depression, and startups like Credit Karma and Groupon emerged in the middle of the 2008 recession?
Crises tend to show us the way we’ve been doing things is holding us back from progress. And it’s no different with the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly within the healthcare industry.
Organizations are now deeply considering every problem, need, weak spot, and inequality to address the virus’s spread.
And technology is often the solution.
Here’s one example.
One of our clients is a health tech company founded by two neurosurgeons at the Department of Neurosurgery at Duke Health. They were concerned with the rise in physician burnout (42% of physicians reported feeling burned out just last year).
So, they created an app called THX Rx that uses positive news, a time-banking program, access to wellness resources, and wellness data collection to boost positivity in the workplace.
Even though the founders had zero software development experience, they had a clear problem that needed solving and an excellent understanding of the industry. The app, created exclusively for Duke Health, is now being used in other healthcare organizations.
I believe right now is the greatest opportunity for tech advancement in healthcare – and medical professionals are uniquely positioned to solve the problems facing the industry.
There’s no shortage of opportunities to get started with a software-oriented side hustle. But here are the four areas of opportunity where we’ve seen great success.
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1. Digitize Clinical Tools, Guides, or References
Clinical tools as educational guides (that don’t require FDA approval) can make for great passive income when set up as a subscription in app stores.
Look at the top free and paid apps in stores today to get some quick ideas. For example, we have clients who are now world-renowned experts in their fields. They digitized their clinical tools to sell as a monthly app subscription. And they also use the apps as a marketing tool for their certification courses and educational community.
The American Society of Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology Inc also took this route by creating an app for their evidence-based management guidelines for abnormal cervical cancer screening tests and cancer precursors.
Are you constantly referencing specific guidelines when treating your patients? Digitizing those guidelines might be the tech side gig for you.
2. Create Online Courses or Communities
Put that medical degree to work by creating online courses that can be pre-recorded and sold while you’re sleeping (or performing surgery).
Certification courses are on the rise, and people are seeking out communities where they can safely meet other professionals. Today, many technologies don’t require custom development to get started, such as Kajabi, Thinkific, and Teachable.
For a more advanced membership and community website, a solid software developer can often use existing tools like Tribe to build a community to test out your idea quickly.
An online community doesn’t have to be centered around education. Maybe you’d like to create a place for people to encourage each other or connect over similar interests.
Online learning can also be a source of income for any business you build – a great opportunity to test out the waters before you retire or take a leap outside of medicine.
3. Improve Processes and Patient Care
Mobile health is on track to be a nearly $300 billion market by 2025. The telehealth industry will grow approximately 19% between 2019 and 2025. And healthcare data is projected to grow 36% through 2025.
What is mobile health? Mobile health includes medical apps that help patients manage their health or help healthcare practitioners facilitate and improve patient care.
Those opportunities are usually right beneath your nose too.
Maybe there’s something you do over and over (like paperwork) that you could automate. Look at everything you do each day, and ask yourself, how much time could I save if this were automated?
If you find something that eats up a lot of your time, ask around to see if others have the same issue. Then ask how much time they would save and what it would be worth to have that time back.
If you can save people time, money, or both, you likely have a software opportunity on your hands. Tons of small software projects begin this way and lead to long-term passive income.
One example is Epocrates; it’s been downloaded millions of times. Doctors use this app to look up drug information and interactions, find providers for consults and referrals, and quickly calculate patient measurements such as BMI.
Check out The Foundation podcast for more software ideas and inspiring stories.
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4. Go Big and Get Licensed
Lastly, let’s say you have a game-changing product idea that will take outside capital and support to get off the ground (usually, these involve machine learning, artificial intelligence, or a connected medical device).
It could be intimidating to take your product off the bench – especially if you want to continue your regular academic or professional duties. However, you can license (or rent) your idea to a company or person that’s already in business. And often, you can still operate as the principal investigator.
For example, another of our clients is an entrepreneur who specializes in technology transfer. He was attracted to research conducted at North Carolina State University. So, he founded VitalFlo, a remote patient monitoring system for asthma management, to pull that research and technology out of the university and bring it to market.
Moral of the story – don’t let fear prevent you from getting in the game. There are always hungry entrepreneurial-minded people who are willing to provide the blood, sweat, and tears to turn an idea into a tangible reality.
P.S. If you have the capital and prefer to play your idea close to your chest, a robust software development team can provide the development and customer service support to allow you the freedom to pursue your career and manage a tech startup.
With crises like recessions and the pandemic, the healthcare industry is being challenged to accept change, and adoption is happening fast.
If you’re seeking financial freedom and want to start a tech side gig, now (more than ever) is the time to do it.
Your idea could be as simple as digitizing a clinical tool or as revolutionary as remote patient monitoring.
If the light bulb hasn’t gone off yet, ask yourself:
What problems are becoming crystal clear to the medical industry that I am uniquely positioned to create solutions for?
How can I make telemedicine stronger for all communities?
What other solutions are out there that’s going to be necessary for the months and years ahead?
How can I help healthcare professionals see how technology can make the difference between life and death and help usher in an unprecedented digital transformation?
Whether you have tech experience or this is your first foray, don’t be afraid to take your shot (thanks, Hamilton).
From our experience, successful tech startups begin with passion and determination. And if you’ve made it this far in your medical career, you already have plenty of it.
Do you use telemedicine? Do you have a side hustle? How has the pandemic changed your medical practice? Comment below!